It might have been the more apt title, actually, for the benefit of those who are so strict about originals and remakes, and imagine faithfulness to be about keeping to the level of copy. But there’s no crossing the same river twice, and it’s a foregone conclusion that every remake is a retelling, every retelling a different story altogether.
And so the question for Chris Martinez’s remake of Joey Gosiengfiao’s 1981 Temptation Island (Regal Films and GMA Films) is: does it still work? Is campiness something we’d know to be an exaggeration? Would campiness work with this set of five girls, three guys, and a gay man?
Could Martinez make it work?
He apparently can, at least if we take the laughter in that almost filled theater as an indication of success. I myself was familiar with the lines from the original and still found myself laughing, sometimes too loudly or just earlier than the rest of the audience in that cinema. Because there’s a learning curve here, during which the audience seem to warm up to the idea of exaggeration and extremes, the kind that campy relies on.
So when the movie begins with Lovi Poe’s Serafina, with her overtly slow and husky voice, and a body in the eternal act of posing, it was easy to feel the audience’s discomfort: ah, this is this kind of movie? Never mind that it wasn’t clear what kind it was. By the time Marian Rivera was delivering Cristina’s lines while dancing with her crook of a boyfriend, the over-the-top delivery seemed to have sunk in, if not the obvious look and feel of an Austin Powers movie.